[Advaita-l] Is study of Vedanta necessary?

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Tue Feb 2 03:38:55 CST 2016

Namaste Sri Sadanandaji,

To answer your question will involve some circularity I'm afraid.

Vedanta holds that for self realization, Vedanta has to be studied. How
does one know this message? Only by studying Vedanta.

Is it possible to know the self without Vedanta? Again, Vedanta holds that
it is not possible.

Therefore before answering the question whether Vedanta is necessary and
sufficient, one must be prepared to answer if one has faith in Vedanta or

If one is prepared to take Vedanta's word for it, then yes, Vedanta is
necessary and sufficient for self realization.

If one does not have faith, there is no point pursuing this path further -
it will not lead to success in answering the question posed (ie if Vedanta
is necessary and sufficient), let alone 'achieving' self realization
through Vedanta.

Can one rely on someone else's word to reveal the self? If one does depend
on others' verbal testimony, one might as well depend on Vedanta because
both dependencies involve faith. Moreover, being human, such testimony is
susceptible to be flawed, or disprove later when new evidence is uncovered

Therefore if one is not prepared to rely on someone else's word for the
means to know the self, one has to employ reasoning to see if there is a
rational means to know the self.

Is it possible to realize the self through any other means of knowledge
such as perception, inference etc?

Any other means apart from direct perception will be indirect, by

How can an indirect means of knowledge purport to reveal the self, which is
the most intimate possible?

It is therefore not possible to know the self through indirect means.

What remains is direct perception - can I use direct perception to know the
self? Here again there is a logical flaw because without understanding the
nature of perception as expounded by Vedanta, one will claim that the
knowledge of an object is revealed by direct perception only - by means of
the instruments of perception, the indriyas, such as sight, hearing, touch,
scent and taste. However, the self is not accessible to these indriyas, as
they can reveal things which are outside the body only and the self is more
intimate than the body.

One could argue that one can know the self through the mind. Here too there
is a problem. The mind is known by the self - we say I know I have a mind -
how can the mind know it's knower? The same argument applies for the
intellect too. It is not possible for an inert object to reveal the
conscious subject - only the conscious subject can reveal an inert object.

Therefore, none of the indriyas, intellect or mind can know the self - and
as a consequence, no means of knowledge can reveal the self.

Therefore left with no other path based purely on reasoning, one has to
turn back to Vedanta and a guru who is well versed in it to show the way to
reveal the self.

I have not tried to explain here how Vedanta reveals the self, only that
non Vedanta based means either are incapable of revealing the self, or
involve the same faith that Vedanta requires, with the added problem that
they are susceptible to be defective due to human origin.

On 1 Feb 2016 10:53, "kuntimaddi sadananda via Advaita-l" <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> PraNAms to all
> Question – Is intensive study of Vedanta essential for self-realization?
> Is not sufficient to have the faith that I am conscious-existent entity
> which is unchanging and I am not this body-mind and intellect which are
> continuously changing.   I am the essence of this universe since without I
> (not BMI) the very existence of the universe cannot be established.
> 2. Does one need a faith that Vedanta is apourusheyam, etc.
> 3. If one sees everything is nothing but the Lord – yo maam pasyati
> sarvatra sarvanca mayi pasyati – One who sees Me everywhere and everything
> in Me  ; This comes immediately after  sarva bhuutastam aatmaanam sarva
> bhuutanica aatmani-One who sees self in all and in oneself.  Both
> statements seem to be equivalent. Interestingly the statement that involves
> Bhakti comes after the statement that involves Janaanam- although both
> appear to indicate the same.
> 4. What are your thoughts on these?
> Hari Om!
> Sada
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